Residents debate over future of historic Milwaukee bridge

The bridge over Ravine Road is falling apart
Posted at 6:19 AM, Jul 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-20 07:20:07-04
MILWAUKEE- There's debate over the future of a historic Milwaukee bridge. Lake Park Bridge was built in 1905.
"My boys played in the ravines and we came across the bridge a lot to get to soccer practice," said Bill Lynch, who's been using the foot bridge for more than 40 years.  
The bridge over Ravine Road is falling apart. 
"It's cracking, it's peeling, it's a 100-year-old bridge.  It needs some love," said John Dargle with Milwaukee County Parks.
As a precaution, Milwaukee County Parks closed the bridge and the road underneath in 2014.  The road remains closed to cars, but both are open to pedestrians.  The community is passionate about its future and that's why they get a say. 
"A lot of history here at Lake Park. I think that's a significant part of the communities decision and the significance of the bridge and what we're going through on making that decision on the future of the bridge," Dargle said. 
With help from a bridge work group, engineers presented five options to the public. Restoration ideas range from minor changes that could last up to 25 years to a brand new structure that might stand for 100 years.  
"We only have one chance with this historic item. Once it's gone we can never replicate," said Carlen Hatala with the Milwaukee Historic Preservation. 
Many disagree on specifics, but most of the citizens at the public meeting are in agreement they want a bridge that looks like the original.  
"I hope that we can do the right thing for continuing its history for another 100 years," Lynch said.
After learning more about funding options and requirements for the park to remain on the National Register of Historic Places, the Milwaukee County Supervisor asked the room their favorite options by a show of hands.
The Bridge Work Group will now fine tune a couple ideas that received positive feedback. They said they plan to make a recommendation to the board in the fall.